Muttiah Muralitharan has criticised the Sri Lanka cricket team after they lost the second ODI against India despite being in a commanding position to win and also lost the three-match ODI series. Muralitharan also pointed out that reserving Wanindu Hasaranga for death overs cost them the game.
Sri Lanka opener Avishka Fernando (50) and middle-order batsman Charith Asalanka (65) notched up with crucial half-centuries with bowling all-rounder Chamika Karunaratne added 44 runs at the end of their innings to propel their innings total to 275/9. India were reeling at 160/6 at the end of the 27th over after losing the wicket of star batsman Suryakumar Yadav who scored a splendorous 53 off 44 balls and soon all-rounder Krunal Pandya also departed.
Former Sri Lanka legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan criticised the Sri Lanka cricket team for not winning against India in the second ODI despite being in a strong position in the early stage of the innings. With India needing 81 runs to win from 84 balls, all Sri Lanka were required was to pick three wickets to level the series but they let the match slip from their hands and Muralitharan is of the opinion that Sri Lanka have forgotten the trick of winning matches over the last few years.
"Seven wickets gone, one wicket and match would have been sealed but they didn't know the winning ways, they have forgotten, it is a hard time for Sri Lankan cricket to come to winning ways," Muralitharan told ESPNcricinfo.
Deepak Chahar's gritty knock of 69 from 82 balls turned the tides in India's favour with vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing a big supportive role with his rock solid defence to save the wicket from the other end. Chahar and Bhuvneshwar forged an unbeaten 84-run stand to seal the series for India with a 2-0 triumph. Muralitharan applauded the efforts of India's tailenders.
"I have told you before if Sri Lanka takes three wickets in first 10-15 overs, India is going to struggle and actually India struggled. Big effort from (Deepak) Chahar and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) made them win," Muralitharan said.
Sri Lankan spinner Wanindu Hasaranga handed Shikhar Dhawan's men some early blows after he sent both Indian openers, Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw, back to the dugout. Hasaranga was dominant throughout his course of spell and came back later to clean Krunal Pandya's stumps. In his final over he just conceded one run, but by that time the equation had dropped to 15 runs needed from 12 balls. Muralitharan believes that if Hasaranga was called when the equation was wide then the spinner would have made a difference by getting a breakthrough.
"And also they (Sri Lanka) made some mistakes. They should have bowled Wanindu Hasaranga, rather than keeping him, they should have bowled him and try to take a wicket. If they would have taken one wicket out of Bhuvneshwar or Chahar, with two other tail-enders coming, it would have been tough to chase 8-9 runs an over...they made some mistakes but it is an inexperienced side," Muralitharan mentioned.